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School children need computer, internet

Picture this: A fifth-grader in the backseat of her mom’s car at some location where she can get internet access so she can meet with her learning support teacher.

Why? She does not have adequate internet at home.

The internet is a critical part of learning, especially right now. Even without a pandemic, school children with inadequate technology and access to the internet are at a learning disadvantage.

In 2020, the PA General Assembly passed ACT 132, which provided $5 million in funding for nongovernmental groups to install broadband across underserved areas of PA.

This is good, but the internet without the tools to use it is useless. We need to make sure our students all have access to technology (computers as well as to the internet) and the ability to use both.

HB 86, sponsored by state Rep. Dan L. Miller (Allegheny County), created a grant program to cover computers and internet access for children who cannot afford them.

The bill also requires that schools and teachers are prepared for online learning when necessary.

All children deserve equal access to education. It is an embarrassment to Pennsylvania that all our school children do not have adequate access to technology.

Please contact your state representative and ask him/her to become a co-sponsor of HB 86.

Susan Johnston

Mary Dupuis

State College

(Note: The writers are part of the public police committee of American Association of University Women in State College.)

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